the places rated almanac
and other guides of this type
have good unbiased info
on most of the regions/cities
you will be considering.
i'm sure your local library
has copies of this book
and others like it.
the info on economy, the weather
crime, recreation, higher ed, health care, cost of living and so on
is invaluable when shopping for a region.
i used these resources heavily
they were a great help
when looking at 'the big move'
usually followed with a 3-4 day trip
to visit weekdays AND weekends...
a borrowed bicycle is THE best way
to get a real feel for any region...
most folks think of quakes in california and traffic...
oh and the high tax rate. the worlds 9th largest economy?
and heat, fog, heat and congestion in the sac valley
I think of new orleans....
sacramento is surrounded by levees, rivers, water and such...
and has many of the same issues as the big easy
some may not agree...
and clearly the cajun food isn't as good...
but this has become a big issue for sac valley living...
so look to the hillsides and above water levels and levees
have fun looking and visits are a must!